I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to get started on my Bali content, but since coming back I have been so so busy. I thought, as it was the first full day we spent there, I would start with our Best of Ubud Tour that was very kindly gifted to us from Icelolly.com.
We were all VERY tired, having spent so long travelling the day before, but as it was our first proper day we all woke up eager to get out and explore what Ubud had to offer! We had a driver booked for the whole day, so we met him (Artana) in the hotel reception and he let us know our itinerary for the day – leaving it open to us if we wanted to change anything.
Ubud is a little bit further out from the main tourist areas and is much much quieter in the respect, and while we were driving through the town we could see straight away why people fall in love with the area. From the gorgeous temples on every corner to the gorgeous market stalls dotted around the sides of the roads, Ubud certainly had character.
The first stop was the famous Monkey Forest. I know the girls were excited about this but the money’s absolutely petrified me and I was quite nervous about the fact they could jump on you if they wanted. Luckily, they were pretty calm and I was able to walk through the forest without having a heart attack, but I did see them trying to steal peoples water bottles or earrings. One even tried to grab my skirt as I walked past.
After a very very warm walk through the forest, we made our way back to the car and relished in the fact we had aircon for a bit.
The next stop on our tour was the Tegallang Rice Terraces, somewhere I have been seeing pop up on Instagram for years. Our driver dropped us off at the entrance while he went to find a parking space and we went off to explore the area some more.
As it was starting to get into peak times, the terraces were understandably extremely busy. We didn’t actually realise you could go down into them for some more exploring, so we ended up staying at the top on the larger ridges. From there, the view was INCREDIBLE. You could see the entire terrace and the vibrant green looked amazing in the sun, so much brighter than I had expected from pictures I have seen. There were people walking around collecting the rice too, which was fascinating to see – I don’t know how they do it in that heat!
As we had a bit of time to explore we decided to wander around and find the photo points, including the LOVE BALI sign and the rice terrace swing. I wasn’t brave enough to go on it myself but I did enjoy watching Ashton and Tamzin swing above the terraces. Looking back, I wish I’d done it now.
After a difficult walk back up to the car in my skirt (let’s call it my wedding dress from now on) we switched the aircon back on and made our way to Ubud Palace.
This is one of the spots that we added onto the list ourselves as it was somewhere we knew we wanted to see, so our driver was happy for us to have half an hour for us to walk around. We didn’t quite need half an hour as it was quite small, but it was fascinating to see the different shrines and statues throughout the palace. There were also ‘offerings’ dotted around the floor and the statues – which are little shrines that can be places almost anywhere to worship! I found myself having to watch my feet as I didn’t want to step on them!
After a walk around the palace we decided we’d go for lunch, so Artana took us to a place I have completely forgotten the name of – a really cute restaurant where we sat in a hut overlooking the water. It was really strange to sit on the floor and eat, but the view was incredible and the food was delicious, just adding to the overall experience. If I could remember what it was called, I’d highly recommend eating here if you’re ever in Ubud, especially if you get a spot outside.
Next door to the restaurant there was one of the traditional wood carvers of Mas village. Our driver introduced us to the the owner and he gave us a full tour, showing us the differences between the different types of wood they use and letting us see some of the very talented carvers at work. Afterwards we were able to walk around the show room to see if we wanted to buy anything, and although it was absolutely stunning, it was all a little bit of my price range.
Next on our tour was the Elephant Cave, another popular temple among tourists in Bali. As we walked into the temple they were handing out sarongs for anyone that needed one, but luckily my wedding dress skirt was long enough or me to be able to enter.
The first thing we did was walk down the steps into one of the fountains, so we could run our hands under the holy water. It was really strange putting my feet into the water as I child see lots of little fishies swimming around in there, but still something I’m really glad I experienced. Afterwards, we walked around the corner to the Elephant Cave.
The carvings on the outside of the cave were as equally incredible as the ones inside, an after a brief walk around we went back outside as believe it or hot, it was much cooler.
Before leaving we had one more quick walk around the temple grounds, exploring the stunning waterfalls and massive trees at the very bottom of the temple steps, then made our way back to the car.
At this point, I was admittedly struggling and had run out of water, so the walk back up to the car was SO DIFFICULT. If there’s one tips I’d give anyone going to Bali it’s make sure you drink plenty of water, as the heat can really take it out of you.
One of our last stops on this incredible tour of Ubud was the Tegenungan Waterfalls. To get there you have to walk through a short market, much like many of the other tourist areas. From the top there were a couple of terraces you could stand out on and see the Waterfalls, which was where I decided to stay while Ashton and Tamzin climbed down to the bottom. If it wasn’t for the fact it felt like the steps were taller me, I probably would have tried to go down a little bit further, but at this stage I was starting to feel the burn from a very busy day.
Our driver, Artana, said that this is usually a stop that as is made early in the morning or later in the evening as it can be too hard to walk down to the bottom in peak heat.
After the Waterfalls we went to something a little more relaxing – a tour of one of the Coffee Plantations. Although I’m not a coffee driver, I heard they had lots of different teas you could try too so I was really excited to try something a little different than what I’d drink at home.
The first thing we did was have a tour of the plantation, where we were shown the difference between a ripe and unripe coffee beans, as well as the different stages of growing things like tumeric and ginger. We were also introduced to the gorgeous Lewaks, who are the ‘creators’ of the famous Cat Poo Coffee.
At first I was convinced that the Lewaks would eat the coffee beans, do their business and then they were made into coffee, but the tour guide showed us that this isn’t the case. The coffee beans are stripped of their hard shell after they are roasted, meaning there’s nothing nasty left behind by the time you drink it.
As I’m not a coffee drinker I didn’t try it personally, but Ashton said that you can really tell the difference and enjoyed the Lewak coffee much more in comparison to the Bali coffee.
After our tour around the plantation the tour guide put together a sampling platter for us to try of all of the different teas, coffees and cocoas they offer. This was so much fun as it meant as got to sample everything before we had a chance to buy, which is perfect for me as I’m so fussy when it comes to hot drinks. I ended up falling in love with both the Rosetta and Mangosteen tea as wish I’d bought so much more of it now, especially as its much cheaper in the markets! Oh well, there’s always next time…
The coffee plantation was our second to last stop, so as it started to get dark we made our way to the final stop – the Ubud markets. This was a traditional market in the sense they sold all of the traditional items, however it was more of a store that we could wander around. I bought a wooden carving of a penguin, then we decided it would be better to head to the markets we’d seen at the start of the day and so asked to be dropped there rather than our hotel. It also meant we could go somewhere central for dinner, where we ended up in a gorgeous Mexican restaurant listening to live music.
It seemed the perfect way to end such an incredible day in Ubud.